Speaker Tips – Bootstrapping Conference Speaking

Photo of Trisha and Daniel presenting at Devoxx

I have loads of advice for aspiring speakers, which is lucky because I get asked about how to get started (or how I got started) all the time. I found an email I sent to someone absolutely years ago (2014) and thought it useful enough to dust off and post. It's interesting to see my mindset back then because now I've largely forgotten what it was like in the early days.

The timing is not great, since in these Coronavirus times no-one's going to or presenting at conferences, but I firmly believe that with all these virtual events and conferences there's a much lower barrier to entry to speaking, and that now is exactly the right time to start presenting if it's something you've ever had on your wish list.

"I was hoping I could get some advice off you as I'm starting to look at ways to get out and speak a little bit more at events. Would you have some insights from how you started?"

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Speaker Tips – What to Wear

For years I’ve avoided talking about the topic of what to wear when presenting. I didn’t want to cover it because I didn’t want people to think that I only worried about this topic because I was a woman. I also didn’t want other women to inherit any of my neuroses around deciding what to wear. I’m the sort of person who always enjoyed thinking long and hard about what to wear the next day at work, and I know that’s not how everyone works.

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Speaker Tips – Wearing a Roaming Mic is More Complicated Than I Realised

Photo of Trisha presenting at Devoxx

I realise I have a bunch of experience and advice for speakers and potential speakers that I simply haven’t written down or shared. Here’s the first piece on things to consider that you might not have thought about.

Note: as usual, my advice is from the point of view of a woman (me) and is aimed mostly at women, but also as usual it’s probably useful for others to know too.

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What Can Conferences Do To Attract More Women Speakers?

Trisha presenting at JavaOne

Now I've been speaking at (mostly Java) conferences for a while (six years now), I get asked to present at a lot of conferences. Obviously all these conferences are mostly interested in my terribly educational talks, but it's also because I'm a technical woman and there aren't very many technical women speaking at conferences.

In my experience, conferences want to do the right thing - they want a diverse line up of speakers, they want to attract diverse attendees. Often this is not as easy as it may seem, and frequently conferences are Twitter-shamed for not having enough women speakers. When it gets to this point (and often before), conferences frequently ask me for advice on speakers they could invite, and how to attract more women.

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